Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Three People Who Know I Have OCD

Everyone has their own opinion on this subject. Your obsessions differ from mine because the circumstances of your OCD are unique. You have harm obsessions, so you choose not to tell your child's friend's parents you have OCD. I have perfectionism obsessions, so I choose not to tell my boss. But this post is not about who I will keep in the dark about my OCD.

It's about who has helped me hold the light. (In another post, I compared my ability to conquer OCD to shining a flashlight on a monster). These people have helped me identify OCD for the ugliness it is, in light of rational reality.

  1. Medical professionals. I have been in the emergency room on account of obsessions. If I hadn't told the emergency room doctor that I had OCD, he, in his inexperience in dealing with patients like me, could have contradicted what I'm learning in ERP therapy by giving me the reassurance I sought to my detriment. Or what about when I have a baby? I plan to let my obstetrician know the full extent of my condition. That way she'll know how to help me weigh real vs. exaggerated risks.
  2. My spouse. My relationship with my husband is a healthy, loving one. He understands me, my weaknesses, and my OCD (to a workable degree). He helps me grow in dealing with the doldrums of my obsessions and compulsions, and praises me when I do well. My therapist helps us make sense of how OCD applies to married life, and she acts as a liaison between us.
  3. God. Fine. God isn't a person. But I have made my OCD a part of my relationship with him. I pray about it, and lately have been working on giving over my thoughts to him when I'm struggling with something. So much of OCD is about craving control, and faith is an exercise in admitting I have none. Funny, that's exactly what I need to work on.

So these are my the 3 people (entities?) with whom I've shared my truth: The monster of OCD can make life difficult. But together we wield a big ol' floodlight.

For now, the in-laws will remain in the dark. ; )


  1. I have the same three who know of my OCD. I can't see myself opening up to anyone else in the future. They just wouldn't understand.

  2. That's awesome that your spouse is supportive. It makes things so much easier when you can both face this monster head on.
    And I agree, OCD is totally a control thing....and faith is the antithesis of that....Nicely put!

  3. I can totally relate to your relationship with God about this horrible illness...It shames me to admit that I even went through a brief phase of being angry at God about it.

  4. I landed in MANY an ER before I even knew I had OCD. I thought my fears and worries were totally acceptable. Only recently, when it finally manifested in the "classic" contamination prevention rituals (it always changes face, sometimes in months, sometimes in years) did I identify that I have OCD. And boy, do I have it. It can really ruin your life.

    I wish I could identify what triggers the bouts of OCD. Sometimes I'm okay, but a new obsession always surfaces, drives me half out of my mind, exhausts me, and finally extinguishes itself. Repeat. Do you have insight on this?

    Your posts are awesome.

  5. StatMama,

    I have a little. My therapist always reminds me to consider HALT-B. I talked about it in another post. http://itsmewithocd.blogspot.com/2009/01/ocd-knowing-my-limitations.html

    The idea is to remember if you're Hungry, Anxious, Lonely, Tired, or Bored you're prone to OCD onslaught. I'm not sure where that mnemonic came from, or I'd post it here.

    For me, it comes whenever it wants, too--sometimes out of nowhere, and sometimes when I can point to moments of anxiety that make me susceptible.

    Thank you, StatMama! I'm glad you like this blog.

  6. Are you still seeing an ERP therapist? It sounds like your situation is similar to mine: you know a whole lot about OCD, and you know what you need to do to beat it, but you can't always do it. I'm working on it, too, and I look forward to reading more of your story.

  7. Oops, I see right in the comment above this that you refer to your therapist!

  8. BeatOCD Blogger,
    Yes, I do. It's hard to do exposures for me, though, because so many of my obsessions come and go. One day something will bother me, and the other day I could care less (but that can mean I've switched to a new obsession--thankfully I'm doing well right now so lately it hasn't).

    You're exactly right--I can't always beat it.

    Thanks for your interest! How did you find my blog? I'm happy to have you around : )

  9. I started blogging recently as a way to process some of what I've experienced while trying to jumpstart my exposures. After I started I was curious about other peoples' experiences and looked up other blogs. I found yours via a google search on (?can't remember), and I like it, probably because you've posted about a number of things I've been thinking about lately. The concept of "better safe than sorry as a lie" is really resonating with me this weekend as my brain tries to keep me and others "safe" via avoidance.